Come! Bring books to sign – work to read!
Join area writers at the upcoming FREE Book Day on Saturday, September 14th from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm at Mower’s Saturday Flea Market on Maple Lane in Woodstock, New York.
Book Day is an opportunity to showcase your work!
Reserve your space today. Call me at 845-399-3967 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hope to hear from you soon!
See you there!
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I walked over to the CVS today and got the latest copy of the “Woodstock Times”. It’s a sellout publication in Woodstock. How could it not be? It’s got the latest obituaries,
stories about community events (more fun than a soap opera)
a full color picture on page 1 (always)
and, a Letters to the Editor section.
I mean, what more can we all ask for? An edition once offered a full color photo of a statue of Buddha perched atop a bright blue sign saying:
WELCOME TO WOODSTOCK
We are all here because we are not all there.
I mean, how can I not buy a copy of the Woodstock Times this every week? It’s better than any tabloid anywhere. Donald Trump doesn’t even have a chance with this one.
If you live in Woodstock or visit Woodstock, you can buy a souvenir bumper sticker at Houst with the Buddha post on it. Buddha won’t be on the bumper sticker. But, that’s not the important part of the message anyway.
Then, when you return home to wherever in the world that may be, you can display this wonderful sign which reads: We are all Here Because We are Not all There. Personally, I can’t think of a better souvenir of Woodstock than that.
But, back to the Woodstock Times:
Because of the propensity of cotton tops in the area, obituaries are always popular. A couple of winters ago we were dropping at the rate of 1 per week. Every week Stuart Klein and I visited in Bread Alone for a few minutes and chatted about who died the week before.
Both Stuart and I were grateful to see spring arrive that year. First, we were grateful to see a few forsythia blooms just to see something besides winter. And, second, we were grateful to be alive and mentally together enough to know we were looking at forsythia blooms.
The weekly Letters section usually begins about page 14 or so with a letter from Howard Harris. Howie has been sending letters to the editor for years, decades maybe. For years, he wrote them in haiku.
Howie’s letter is traditionally the first one to go on the page. Howie taught me many years ago (when I first began writing letters about the pantry) that the letters are more or less sorted by when they come in. “Email your letter over on Friday, Thurman. That way you’ll have a good chance of reading it in the Woodstock Times.” Howie’s advice worked every week for years.
Brian quit printing my letters years ago but Howie still plugs along with his weekly letter. A couple of years ago or so, he dropped the haiku and now uses a straight 2-4 paragraph letter denouncing any local activities involving the local Zoning Board of Appeals and whatever else he’s thinking about. His letters have great interest and are probably read by 95% of the people buying the Woodstock Times weekly. Personally, I miss the haiku.
Standard letters written by Woodstockers include:
comments on the Arab Israeli conflict,
opinion pieces on all sides of whatever local fight is in progress,
thank you letters offering recognition about a job well or poorly done.
During election season, the Letter section is filled to capacity with letters for and against the various candidates and the issues they represent.
But, no matter what’s happening, I look forward to Sparrow’s message.
One thing the Woodstock Times does not have is a list of breakins, brawls, speeding tickets. If we want to read about that stuff, we have to buy the Daily Freeman. While it’s nice that the Woodstock Times doesn’t waste space on sleaze, it gives the reader the feeling that nothing ever goes wrong around here. This is definitely not the case. We have as many vandals around here as any other town but we just don’t mention them.
An important part of the paper is the weekly listing of meetings which usually appears at the top of page 3. These meetings are important. Whenever a decision is brewing, interested parties and protestors need to know exactly where and when the meeting will be held. It will never do to show up at the wrong time or place (which I did once).
Town Board Meetings are big sellers with a list of commenters who sign up a few minutes before the meeting so they can have a 2-minute “say” about anything they want in the “Public be Heard” segment of the meeting. Always popular in this segment is comment about any project that is just beginning, is ongoing, or is finished.
The Woodstock Times is delivered to Woodstock stores every Thursday afternoon after 2:00. Apart from the first section featuring news, letters, meetings, obituaries, the second section is a real seller. That’s the Almanac. Everything that’s happening around here, both large and small, appears in the Almanac.
My favorite section in the whole Woodstock Times is the cartoon by Swami Salami. Swami Salami’s cartoon is displayed, usually, in the upper left hand corner of page 15. My week is just not complete without seeing Michael Esposito’s message.
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Woodstock, New York
It’s OUT! It’s in print! The story has been told! And you can get a copy of the book. Today! Right now! Simply go to thurmangreco.com and order it on paypal.
Or, you can get it at a book signing. I’m reading my book in libraries and church halls and in independent book stores. Check my website to find a time and place convenient for you.
What began as a project, guaranteed to take no more than two hours a month, is a calling. Proceeds of the sale of this book (and the t-shirt) are going to feed the hungry.
The Book and the T-Shirt:
The book and the t-shirts took more than five years of work. I went through reams and reams of paper. Two computers blew up and one copier died of exhaustion.
Get the book, read it, and let me know how you feel about what you read.
And, please share this unbelievably exciting news!
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Every year about this time, Woodstock finds itself losing some old friends and maybe getting new ones. Sometimes the new ones move in right away. Other times it takes awhile to fill the vacant storefronts.
I have a small year end ceremony in which I take several special walks through Woodstock to identify, and say goodbye to closing businesses. For Sale signs are scattered all over town this year.
My first goodbye trip around the loop this fall reminded me that the entire cluster of storefronts in the buildings across from the Woodstock Playhouse appear to be for sale. To all prospective buyers: this cluster of buildings has tenants in every space but Dr. Longmore’s old office.
I notice the sign advertising the space behind the Bank of America is down. “Is this a positive move?” I ask myself.
There’s office space available in the CVS building.
A bit further up the street, Not Fade Away has a sign. Even the vacant lot next door has a for sale sign.
The old Mid Hudson Valley space is still available. They appear to be making the best of things with a pop-up store.
The Then and Now Hair Salon has vacated its space next to Woofstock. They even took the sign with them.
Every vacancy is a story. Some happy, others not so.
The White Gryphon must empty soon because Bob wants to sell the building. According to a recent Facebook posting, the White Gryphon still has about 2 weeks left. Now is the time to get one last item from one of Woodstock’s favorite shops. Please be sure to stop by before it closes for good.
In Woodstock this winter, we’re going to love hating the building owner, “Bob” who we got to know in Susan Saxman’s book “The Reluctant Psychic.”
Suzan and David are splitting the store up. He’s moving across the street to #68 and she’ll do her famous psychic readings in the building where Headstock is located. You can find David behind Walkabout at the bright yellow staircase.
Even though they appear to be making a go of it with two locations instead of one, this proposition sounds challenging. What we all know about Woodstock is that it’s easy to sell anything in the summer and almost impossible to turn a profit in the winter. David plans to have the winter White Gryphon open daily from about 11:30 to 5.
Fortunately, Suzan Saxman’s book “the Reluctant Psychic” offers them an extra layer of recognition which should help overcome the empty building people will be seeing in coming months. I heard recently that the Golden Notebook has sold out her book eight times already. If you’re not in the area, you can also get a copy at Amazon and at Barnes & Noble.
Have you read Suzan’s book? I did. It’s a different take on the psychic memoir. Suzan’s story is well organized, interesting, and filled with answers to questions that people always want to ask.
I loved reading the book and found that it has much more depth than I ever expected. Each chapter answers questions:
Do animals have souls?
Are we the agents of our own destiny, or are there forces bigger than ourselves at work?
How does death change us?
Are unhappy people still unhappy after they die?
Why are we born?
How does karma work? Can we change our karma? How?
How difficult is it to be a healer? a psychic?
Is reincarnation real? How does it work?
What is it like in the after world?
What carries over from our past lives?
How hard is it to move from the past to the present to the future?
Does anyone remember deciding to come back?
How hard is it to be an old soul?
What about finding a soulmate?
And on and on and on. There are many answers in this book. The wisdom found on the pages of “The Reluctant Psychic” is unique, special, and deep.
Thanks for reading this blog. The stories are true and the people are real.
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Dear Ms. Harrop – I enjoyed reading your article in the Friday, June 19, 2015, Daily Freeman Newspaper entitled “Why we still need public libraries.” Thank you for writing about such a important subject. I periodically blog about this issue in one of my blogs. In fact, I discussed this subject just a month ago on a May 20, 2015 post of this blog.
Woodstock, NY, has been debating if/how to modernize our library since about 2007.
Your arguments in favor of public libraries are all relevant as far as they go. However, I feel that you omitted arguments touching on the heart of the most pressing need for continuing their existence.
Libraries are lifelines for the new Struggling Class – a growing group of people experiencing poverty to such an extent that a local library is essential in ways we never before imagined.
For starters, libraries offer clean restrooms. In our community of approximately 10,000 residents (if you count both the full time residents and the weekenders), there are very few public restrooms.
We have a public restroom just up the street from our village green which closes each year on November 30th and does not reopen until April 15th.
Our recently renovated Town Hall has public restrooms.
Family of Woodstock has a public restroom.
And, the Woodstock Free Library has one.
That’s it. The homeless and the struggling poor don’t have the funds to duck into a local cafe and buy a cup of coffee in order to get access to a restroom. They rely on the services offered in their communities. This always includes the restroom at the library.
Libraries offer a place to get in out of the cold, the heat, the wet. They offer an opportunity to sit in a chair and read a newspaper or a magazine. This is important to the many categories of poverty ridden:
terminally ill poor,
The Woodstock Library has computers. When I visit the library they are always being used.
For those without a computer, the library is a lifeline to the world. Nowadays, computers are needed to:
apply for a job
make a medical appointment
apply for benefits such as social security, SNAP, unemployment compensation
find a food pantry
find a soup kitchen
find a bus schedule
This is just the basic list. I’m sure the people using a library computer can give several more reasons.
Many struggling poor and homeless people have smart phones. They often sacrifice much to keep a smart phone but it is an invaluable tool for survival in the 21st century.
Other struggling poor have working computers but can’t afford wifi. Libraries offer wifi for people who don’t have the price of a cup of coffee needed to get the service in a cafe. On any evening in Woodstock, it’s common to see people sitting on the grounds of the library, under the light of the moon, using the public wifi services offered by our Woodstock Library.
However, not all struggling poor people can afford smart phones or computers. For them, the library is their only option.
And, we haven’t even gotten to the books yet. One of the reasons our community has been wrangling over the expansion/update of our library all these years is that we simply don’t have space for the needed books.
And, we haven’t even gotten to the children, either. Our library offers story telling hours throughout the week for the many children in the area whose families use our library. Our children’s room is very popular. It’s every bit as important as the computer area.
We have a public speaking space with a waiting list several months long.
What would we do without our library?
On behalf of the poor, the hungry, and the downtrodden, I thank you for supporting the continuing existence of libraries, Froma Harrop. In my blog, that makes you a Hero for Hunger.
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Shiv’s message came through on Facebook the other day.
“I finally decided to take the step and become a Tibetan monk after taking instruction with HH Yangsi Rinpoche, shaved my 30 years of dreadlocks and beard and now I’m getting my robes today.”
April 1, 2015
Although I didn’t know him personally, he was a popular face at Monday night poetry readings at the Colony Cafe. I noticed him each time he attended a poetry reading, with his massive mound of dreadlocks wound around the top of his scalp. He also had an open smile and everyone seemed to like him. And, of course, silly me, what did I know? Here he was, living and breathing…the most famous of the famous.
One of the first things that impressed me about Woodstock was the prevalence of artists, writers, poets, musicians, singers, actors. They move about town as if no one knows who they are. And, indeed, many are not known to people on the street.
It’s been that way for years. Byrdcliffe has attracted people in the arts since the early 20th century years. Artists live at Byrdcliffe both permanently in their private homes and temporarily through the artist-in-residence program.
And, then, the famous Woodstock Music Festival brought another group which also never left. They are seen about town today. Some of them are now local businessmen. The story goes that the original owner of Taco Juan was at the festival, for example. Ditto for Not Fade Away. The new Shindig is owned by a “festival family”.
But, back to Shiv, the most talented in a lineup of many.
Both famous, semi-famous, and unknown talented people in the arts used the food pantry regularly after the downfall of the economy in ’07. Because Woodstock attracted artists, musicians, and writers, many of them had second homes in Woodstock. Some of these creative and talented people saw their incomes totally dry up.
I heard similar stories. They essentially went like this: the person would have a home in the Woodstock area in addition to a place in New York City or Paris or Dubai, Katmandu, Delhi, or Miami or someplace…anyplace else. As the income dwindled, the person looked around, assessed his/her situation and tried to unload the most expensive place which was usually in the someplace else location.
Some sublet. Others sold. Still others underwent foreclosusre.
They came to Woodstock to live in the cheaper home, only to find zero opportunity to earn $$$ away from the city environment. So, here they were…down and out in Woodstock and Bearsville. Some even experienced foreclosure of the Upstate New York home.
The pantry line filled weekly with intelligent, well educated, talented people who were stranded because their support system was just not what it should have been. They, for the most part, made the best of it. What else could they do? Artists, musicians, writers, actors…talented…all.
Eventually, some established new lifelines. A few ended up homeless.
Battling the restrictions of the building committee, while trying to serve everyone who needed food was challenging for the volunteers. Often the wait was over an hour for a 3-day supply of food during the darkest days of the depression.
Somehow, I felt these talented people deserved better than a begrudging attitude offered to them in the cold basement of the Woodstock Reformed Church. As volunteers, we did the best we could to make them feel welcome, safe, accepted but it was hard.
Shiv Mirabito was the center of the group in the food pantry line each week. He offered strength with his positive attitude and smile. I credit this with the essence which makes makes Shiv Mirabito the person he is. He has spent his entire adult life studying Tantric Buddhist philosophy and lives what he studies. Each moment is a religious experience for him.
Now, time has passed. Possibly life has improved in the bowels of the church on pantry day. Hopefully fewer of these talented people need food from the pantry. I’m not sure because I moved to Reservoir Food Pantry where the atmosphere is totally different.
We’ve all changed. Especially Shiv who will be totally unrecognizable for awhile on the streets of Woodstock. I’m hoping to see him soon in his new robes. Without his dreads, the robes will be the only way I’ll be able to recognize him.
Shiv has a publishing house in India for his fellow writers/artists. He prints their work on handmade papers. Shiv has been doing this for years. Shivastan Publishing uses traditional printing methods to craft print chapbooks and broadsides on handmade paper. Each of these books is a work of art unto itself in addition to the poetry printed on the page. There are typos to be found. After all, the people doing the printing don’t read or write English.
And what has happened to the other equally talented artists, writers, musicians who were stuck for awhile in Woodstock? Hopefully times have changed for them too. I occasionally see 1 or 2 of them in Kingston.
It was gut wrenching to see the effect of the foreclosures on them in Woodstock. And, it was difficult for them to leave Woodstock. For some, foreclosure affected their emotional health.
A few, I know, returned to the primary city where life is easier for them now. They are happy for the return move.
RUPCO is opening a new housing unit for those in the arts. It’s located in the newly refurbished, historical Lace Mill in Kingston. I’m hoping some will be lucky enough to get an apartment there.
Opening soon, 1, 2, and 3-bedroom lofts will be available with mezzanines and high ceilings. Several gallery spaces, designated shared and private work studios are planned.
A common artist utility room is being built on every level.
Outdoor sculpture areas are designed for public art.
I’m hoping some of those in the arts in Woodstock will be lucky enough to get an apartment there. I’m hoping they’ll enjoy it. It’s gorgeous!
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